Scientific Name: Froelichia arizonica
Common Names: Arizona Snakecotton, Arizona Snake-cotton
Growth Habit: Herb/Forb
Arizona Native Status: Native
Habitat: Upland. This unusual wildflower grows on sunny, open, gravelly areas or rocky hillsides.
Flower Color: White (hair)
Flowering Season: Summer, Fall
Height: Up to 39 inches (1 m) tall
Description: The flowers are spirally arranged on dense flower spikes. The individual flowers are wrapped in thick, shiny, bright white, cottony hairs and have 5 tiny, straw-colored or brownish sepals. The flower buds are enclosed by dark, hairless bracteoles (protective coverings). The flowers are followed by small, winged, bladder-like, one-seeded fruits. The leaves are light green and variably hairy above, whitish green and covered with woolly hair below, opposite, lance-shaped with often rippled margins, and mostly crowded near the base of the plant. The stems are covered with fuzzy, white hairs. The plants have enlarged, woody taproots.
The similar Slender Snakecotton (Froelichia gracilis) has flowers with sparser, dull white, cottony hairs, while Texas Snakecotton (Froelichia interrupta) has broader, shorter leaves and flower buds with light brown or straw-colored bracteoles.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Amaranthaceae – Amaranth family
Genus: Froelichia Moench – snakecotton
Species: Froelichia arizonica Thornb. ex Standl. – Arizona snakecotton
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